Innis & Infrastructure

I am developing a new project that situates Harold Innis and the Toronto School of Communication in relation to contemporary debates in media theory. I am looking to understand two things: 1) how Innis’s early economic histories, and the ‘dirt research’ that produced them, relate theoretically and methodologically to media archaeology, cultural techniques, and critical infrastructure studies; 2) how and why media theory emerged in Canada when it did. This second line of inquiry addresses the relationship between Innis and McLuhan.

The most recent iteration of this project, “Innis’s Infrastructure: Dirt, Beavers and Documents in Material Media Theory” will be published in Cultural Politics in summer 2017.

An earlier gloss appears as “Cultural Techniques and Logistical Media: Tuning German and Anglo-American Media Studies.M/C Journal 18.2 (2015).

I also presented treatments in Spring, 2016 at the University of Oregon’s What is Media? conference, and the 2016 meeting of the Canadian Communication Association. A transcript of the Oregon talk is available here.


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